Qatar Airways has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to buy 80 of the all-new Airbus A350XWB aircraft. The agreement was signed at the Elysée Palace in Paris in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, and Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic, by Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al-Baker and Airbus President and CEO Louis Gallois. This will make the airline the largest customer for the A350XWB to date and the first one in the Middle East region.
This agreement supersedes an earlier one signed in 2005 for 60 of the original A350 aircraft.
The 80 aircraft include 20 A350-800s, 40 A350-900s and 20 of the largest in the family, the A350-1000. Deliveries will begin from 2013. Qatar Airways will use the A350XWBs to complement its A330s and A340s on regional and long haul routes.
"The A350XWB will equip Qatar Airways with the very latest generation and most modern fleet. In addition to unbeatable operating economics, the A350XWB shares the same cockpit commonality with other Airbus aircraft, especially the A380, so introducing the modernised fleet will be a simple and cost efficient step", said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al-Baker.
The A350 XWB, is Airbus' newest aircraft and will be the world's most technologically advanced. It is designed to increase productivity, offer unparalleled levels of passenger comfort in its class whilst reducing operating costs. Addressing environmental concerns, the A350XWB will be one of the most fuel-efficient aircraft ever.
"We are very honoured by Qatar Airways' decision to acquire the A350XWB. This is an outstanding endorsement of our newest product by a leading world carrier", said Airbus President and C.E.O Louis Gallois. "Qatar Airways has been a long standing Airbus customer with orders straddling all our aircraft families, including the A380. I wish to thank Qatar Airways for their latest decision which is a further evidence of the confidence they are placing in all our products", he added.
Qatar Airways is the largest all-Airbus operator in the Middle East and one of the world's leading airlines, with a fleet that comprises aircraft from the A320, A300/A310 and A330/A340 families. It is also a customer for the 21st Century flagship jetliner, the A380.
With up to 60 per cent of weight-saving using the most advanced materials, in the form of carbon fibre wings and composites, the Airbus A350XWB will be lighter per seat - and hence more economical. This design, together with centralised maintenance and extended check intervals, will also help to give the Airbus A350XWB attractive maintenance costs.
Airbus is an EADS company.